Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star who performed under the name Stormy Daniels, is suing President Donald Trump, claiming he never signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding their alleged affair, NBC News reports.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, argues that only Clifford and Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, signed the “hush agreement,” and the lack of Trump’s signature renders the document “legally null and void and of no consequence.” The suit goes on to suggest that Trump, despite knowing about the hush agreement and $130,000 payment to Clifford in exchange for her signature, “purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the Hush Agreement and Ms. Clifford.”
Clifford’s lawsuit includes a copy of the hush agreement as well as a side letter. The hush agreement notably refers to both Trump and Clifford by aliases – David Dennison and Peggy Peterson, respectively – though the side letter identifies them both by their real names. Both documents feature the signatures of Clifford and Cohen, though both boast a blank where “David Dennison” was supposed to sign.
Clifford and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, are asking the Los Angeles County Superior Court to declare that both agreements “were never formed, and therefore do not exist, because, among other things, Mr. Trump never signed the agreements.”
The lawsuit claims that Clifford and Trump began an “intimate relationship” in the summer of 2006 – not long after Trump and his wife, Melania, welcomed their son Barron – and continued into 2007. The relationship supposedly included “among other things, at least one ‘meeting’ with Mr. Trump in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.”
The suit goes on to describe the origins of the hush agreement, which was cobbled together after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape. As multiple women came forward with stories about Trump acting inappropriately towards them, Clifford tried to share her story as well when Cohen learned of her communications with various media outlets. Last October, just weeks before the election, Cohen and Clifford signed the agreement and Cohen wired $130,000 to a trust account of Clifford’s then-attorney.
When news of the affair began to leak in January, the suit alleges that Cohen tried to intimidate and coerce Clifford into “signing a false statement wherein she stated that reports of her relationship with Mr. Trump were false.” The suit claims that as recently as February 27th, Cohen was trying to initiate “a bogus arbitration proceeding” against Clifford in order to further silence her.
Trump has yet to address the alleged affair with Clifford, but the lawsuit suggests he must’ve known about the hush agreement, the $130,000 payment and Cohen’s recent attempts to silence Clifford. Citing a New York bar rule that attorneys must keep their clients informed at all times, the suit alleges that “it strains credulity to conclude that Mr. Cohen is acting on his own accord and without the express approval and knowledge of his client Mr. Trump.”